It may be hard to believe, but the first month of the New Year is almost over. So, how’s your year going so far? If it’s not going as you had hoped, now is a great time to start again. For the first time in probably six years, I have started a year by keeping an open mind, open heart and releasing all of my expectations. For the first time, I have not started the year with an internal countdown of when my family will expand going on in my mind. And for the first time, I finally feel I have some peace moving into a new year. Now, I’m not writing this to say I have all of the answers. Far from it. But my goal as always is to share my experiences in an effort to support those going through similar struggles. I’ve learned that when I put things into practice, and begin each day for what it is … a new day … then things all of a sudden don’t seem so overwhelming.
Open mind. When it comes to infertility, it’s hard to open your mind to anything other than what you want. For me, that was a baby. I never envisioned living childfree, and to be honest, was never even open to the thought. I kept my eye on the “prize,” and felt any falter on my part meant I was weak and that I didn’t want “it” enough. I now know I was wrong.
It wasn’t until I examined the facts that I was able to see my situation clearly. I had to look at our situation as an outsider. Once I did that, I could see that I had gone through fertility treatments, and no matter how things lined up, my body wasn’t responding. My husband and I had explored adoption, but found that the process didn’t bring the peace we had expected. The only thing that appeared to be clear was that I was currently childless, and the path forward remained unclear.
Open heart. Once I was able to open my mind, and look at my situation more objectively, I was finally able to open my heart. I’ve always had a hard time understanding why God would give me such a strong desire to be a mom, but continued to leave it unfulfilled. I have had highs and lows in my relationship with God. At times I have been angry and even yelled at Him for all that He was withholding from me, and at other times I repented and tried to do everything within my power to be the “perfect Christian.” It wasn’t until I opened my heart to where He was leading, and let God fill the void I was feeling that I was able to receive His peace. I realized I didn’t need to know the answers behind my situation, I just had to trust God with the answers I had been given.
Releasing expectations. We all have an idea of what our life will look like in the future. For me, I have always envisioned myself as a mom. The thought of this not happening was something I wouldn’t even consider, yet alone, accept. But once I opened my mind and heart I began to release my expectations of the future. I realized I don’t have to know what will happen in a month, a year, five years or even 10. Instead, I have learned to release all of my expectations to God, and trust Him with whatever future He had envisioned for my life. Just as He knows the number of hairs on my head, He also knows what the future holds.
No more internal clocks. Over the years of dealing with infertility I self-consciously kept internal clocks ticking away with each minute. Some may say this is their biological clock, but whatever it was, it wasn’t healthy. One of my clocks would countdown to my next cycle, appointment and procedure. The other was planning what might happen if I got pregnant this month, next month, where I wanted to be in three months, six months, nine months and a year. Planning how I would spend the next holiday season, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and my husband or mine’s birthday as a new or expecting parent. Everything had a countdown clock tied to it, and each was associated with many levels of expectation.
I have learned that anticipation and expectation can be good at times, but when you let them rule your life they can be very unhealthy. Once I realized I had to release my planning, timing and expectations, and replace them with a trust in God no matter what the future held, I was finally able to enjoy the moment without anticipating what was up ahead. I realized that the answer I had in front of me was that I was childfree, and I could either accept this answer, embrace the life I had been blessed with, and trust God knew what He was doing with my future, or I could continue the battle that’s lasted for years and miss out on the blessings I had been given. It was in that moment I finally chose to be free, to accept the things I could not change, and to move forward in life with a joy I hadn’t experienced in a very long time.